The Key to Dog Training: Feeling Comfortably StupidThursday, March 12, 2009
I was forwarded this great research article yesterday that I thought I would share with you all. Martin Schwartz wrote about The importance of stupidity in scientific research. The article is worth the read (don’t worry it is a short one:)). In the paper, Dr. Schwartz addresses the need for us to be “productively stupid”. Honestly it made me think of many of my own students (I write that only with the best intentions for all of you). As dog trainers we can’t think that we must always have all the answers, we can’t be afraid to fail, and we must let go of the visualization of being perfect. Schwartz closes the paper with this priceless truth;
“One of the beautiful things about science is that it allows us to bumble along, getting it wrong time after time, and feel perfectly fine as long as we learn something each time. No doubt, this can be difficult for students who are accustomed to getting the answers right. No doubt, reasonable levels of confidence and emotional resilience help, but I think scientific education might do more to ease what is a very big transition: from learning what other people once discovered to making your own discoveries. The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries.”
The key is to find a way to feel “perfectly fine,” while getting things wrong time after time. It is a key to our dogs as they learn to offer responses, fail and confidently try again, and it is a key to us as dog trainers as we realize there are no answers to be found by giving up!
Today I am grateful for Lynda, who is here to force me to take some time off and go to the spa today:)